Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Learning does not have to be Grand

“Are you Catholic?” Bala asked.

Experiences around the globe have taught me the “politically correct” sensitivities of the United States are not universally shared.  Religion is a good example. It is common in many places to ask a person their religion, particularly if you think you might have something in common.

So it was that Bala, the driver, asked me if I was Catholic.  He was a kind man and wanted to share his church if I answered yes.  This was in India mind you and Catholics are far from the majority.  Infant JesusChurch (see photo) was in the village of Emjala in an unmapped area of Hyderabad only 3 kilometers from the plant I was visiting. It was not St. Petersburg cathedral, but very interesting and having Bala explaining the details and what takes place here on Sundays in his broken English made it very worthwhile.

Like all major cities, Hyderabad has it big sites – Chowmahalla Palace, the Golkonda Fort and Charminar among them.  I had been there, done that.  The locals said “you have seen it all Mr. John.” It was not so.  This small side trip shows that cultural awareness and learning takes place with every little exposure and each person you meet when you take the time to understand.

What small things are you exposing your team to help their cultural awareness journey?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice one !
It is a great lesson indeed…small things do matter and it is not always the Grandeur that defines the cultural experience while visiting culturally diverse places.

Stamford Legal World said...

The work and growth opportunity is always what drew me to the next position, but it was the cultural exposure that gave each position life. No matter how "homogenous" you think a group is, there is diversity to be found, and spending even a little time talking about those small (or large) differences can help build a more cohesive team. Everyone will give a little glimpse of what is important to them - it is up to each team member in the group to listen. I always try to find out one new things about any person I work during the day. It's a great networking goal as well.

Kirk Apolo said...

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Beth Cordell said...

I had a great opportunity to have a Native American gentleman do a rotation in my team. I gave him the assignment to share diversity moments with us during staff meetings. It was very nice to learn more about what he has a Hopi Indian believes and what his culture believes. One of the things that I learned from him was home very spiritual the Hopi Indians beliefs are through their entire day. They believe that their ancestors are with them and helping them. And that really touched my heart and helped me to understand him better.

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